CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Gertrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Cordelia R. Twomey

Abstract

The No Child Left Behind Act requires all students; regardless of poverty level, learning disability, limited English proficiency, or racial/ethnic origins; to be in general education classrooms meeting high standards of proficiency in reading/language arts and mathematics by 2013-14. Meeting high standards of proficiency in a general education classroom is particularly challenging for students diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorders, such as Asperger's syndrome. Limited interests, inflexible language, and social skills deficits without a history of cognitive or language delays before the age of three characterize the disorder. Other symptoms, such as clumsiness, unusual sensory reactions, and talk in unusual ways or with an odd tone of voice are present early in life, Asperger's syndrome is typically not diagnosed until school age and on average the age is 11 years old.

Various teaching strategies and assistive technologies encourage positive learning environments allowing for students with Asperger's to be productive in a general education classroom. A quantitative survey research design was the guiding methodology. Utilizing SurveyMonkey, two cross-sectional surveys were created and sent to Tennessee's 150 special education district supervisors with a request to forward to both special education and general education teachers. The surveys had three distinct components based on students with Asperger's syndrome; teaching strategies implemented, current assistive technologies being used, and how eReaders, tablets, and mobile applications are being utilized as assistive technologies.

The results were tallied and evaluated. A comprehensive set of teaching strategies and assistive technologies used in the general education classroom to improve reading/language arts for secondary students diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome was compiled.

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